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Romelu Lukaku was subjected to abuse by Cagliari fans on Sunday (Picture: Getty Images)

An Inter Milan ultras group has released a statement defending Cagliari fans over racist chants directed at Romelu Lukaku, claiming that they were not meant to be construed as racist.

The striker, who arrived at Inter from Manchester United this summer, was subjected to monkey chants while he prepared to take a penalty in a Serie A match on Sunday.

The Belgian scored from the spot and stared into the crowd afterwards in reaction to the pathetic abuse.

The chanting was condemned by Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte after the match and by Lukaku himself in a statement posted on Instagram.

However, the Inter-affiliated group Curva Nord posted the following statement on Facebook page LUrlo della Nord, which suggested the chanting wasnt intended to be racist, but simply to put Lukaku off.

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The statement read: Hi Romelu. We are writing you on behalf of Curva Nord, yes the guys who welcomed you at your arrival in Milan.

We are really sorry you thought that what happened in Cagliari was racist.

You have to understand that Italy is not like many other north European countries where racism is a REAL problem.

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We understand that it could have seemed racist to you, but it is not like that.

In Italy we use some ways only to help our teams and to try to make our opponents nervous, not for racism but to mess them up.

We are a multi-ethnic fans organisation and we have always welcomed players from everywhere. However, we have always used that way with other teams players in the past and we probably will in the future.

We are not racist and so are not the Cagliari fans.

You have to understand that in all Italian stadiums people cheer for their teams but at the same time they use to cheer against the opponents not for racism but to help their own team.

Please consider this attitude of Italian fans as a form of respect for the fact they are afraid of you for the goals you might score against their teams and not because they hate you or they are racist.

True racism is a completely different story and all Italian football fans know it very well.

When you declare that racism is a problem to be fought in Italy you just help the repression against all football fans including us and you contribute to create a problem that is not really there, not in the way that is perceived in other countries.

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We are very sensitive and inclusive with all people. We guarantee you that in our organisation there are many fans of different races or fans coming from other parts of Italy that also use this way to [provoke] their opponents even when the have the same rRead More – Source